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L B Apr 2017
Who knows what stops the heart of a song
I take note

of tiny thud—
robin in the wheel well of my car

the limp head
of a cat’s prey

sigh of wings
defrocked by power lines

baby starling’s fledgling flight
falling short of a pond’s edge

The slate morsel unearthed
by the tines of my rake

…and the world is vacant for a moment

Grief ***** a womb of air
but how it lives— I cannot say
Upended creature of us

Stops the throbs that herald life
laura Feb 2018
vain fluff, temporary garbage
954 pieces of trash is too much
to pick up

let the most dazzling of sunlight
and cool shade get along in peace
let the blue fat flies settle on the miles
of back alleyways full of dumpsters

veiled threats from anonymous faces
who are apparently experts in poetry
let it all rot under a gibbous moon
do others here get trolls sending mean
messages and comments? or is it just me :(
jeffrey conyers Sep 2012
Those good old days of youth.
Teachers were to be respected.
Not to be attacked.
One ounce of disrespect to them.
You soon was facing your parents.
Yes, those were the good old days.

The church wasn't truly a choice.
Well, maybe for daddy it was.
But under mama rules.
You owed respect to the one that created you.
The good old days.

Respect was cherished art.
It was something those good parents taught.
Even if the adults were wrong.

And you best not try to talk back.
Because you had to be re-taught respect.
Parents weren't trying to be your friends.

You were educated on where friendship ends.
And the role of parents begins.
And with them.
You weren't going to always get your way.

Well, maybe when you sick.
Because parents become carings kids.
You get cake and ice cream when ill.

While if healthy.
You had to eat your dinner.
And hope they don't forget this offering deal.

Oh, the good old days.

You had a time limit to be in.
The street lights bet not come on.
And you're not in the yard.
This when parents went hard.
Lectures and sermons to last for days.
Punishments, I won't begin to say.

Remember, these the parents of the good old days.
Tanay Sengupta Sep 2018
As the moon shines
And the stars decorate the sky,
A lonely owl hymns
While the bats fly.
Lightning bugs scatter around
Like will-o'-the-wisps at night,
Without any sound
Oh, what a delight!
The neighbour's hound is on guard
She will not allow anyone to pass,
No one is allowed in her yard
At this hour, only a fool will walk on her grass.
Her howl pierces the air
Bringing an end to the silence,
She announces she won't share
She will not tolerate any form of violence.
Across the street, few floors above
Two players are taking their turns,
In the famous game of push and shove
While a tiny candle burns.













Tanay Sengupta, Copyright © 2018.
All Rights Reserved
As usual, I will not explain this poem. I think it is evident by now that I won't explain any of my poems to you. I want you to perceive it the way you want to. Happy reading!
saige May 2018
velcro wallet
was navy, i think
gray plastic zipper
grandma gave you
i had a locket
it had your picture inside
but you threw it away
because you looked like a rabbit
apparently
hair fluffed, eyes puffy
two teeth and two hours
of squirming on a photo booth

plastic coin pouch
small crayola blue
walmart sticker on a side
but it never made me smile
not like that piggy bank did
yard sale treasure
dinosaur-shaped
no smashing to withdrawl
our tooth fairy dollars and dust
still, you crammed stink bugs
down the long neck's back

now, a denim bag on my bed
rhinestoned one in the closet
and your wallet is
real leather, i think
has superheroes on it
rough and grungy
as the comic books in the attic
or, did you toss those too?

who needs a screwdriver
without a *****?
that's all money was
just hardware we didn't have
much use for
but there is more than one way
to use a tool
so here, i'll paint it straighter
who needs a coffin without a corpse?
especially when we were
so full of life back then
Trim back the parts of me protruding
unwantingly in everyone’s face

Sever from me the dead branches that no longer
serve except to scrape my fellows’ sensitivity

Pluck off these withered and unrecognizable
leaves that pitifully and desperately
held on throughout Winter              

Uproot these weeds of deeply burrowed
manipulations and please pour a gallon
of **** killer on my roots

Smash the restless tendencies of ants,
ever planning and controlling; cave in
their castle of lies

Did you notice that black widow spider
patiently waiting to poison all that is dear
in my life?

While at it, might as well neatly scoop up
the rocks and pebbles of thoughts and
reason that have scattered across the drive way
and put them back into proper context.
“It is time” the Priest said.  I nodded, being well prepared.
My last confession had been heard, as well as my unanswered prayers.
Tom Clarke and Tom Mac Donagh would, shortly, join me in the yard,
where a line of British Soldiers would dispatch us off to God.

The light, grey and uncertain, the air was cold and raw.
A plain grey concrete wall would be the last thing that I saw.
My hands secured behind my back; a blindfold on my eyes.
A sacrifice both right and proper; for Ireland I will die.

I’d dreamt of an Ireland brave and free. To that I did aspire.
I hear the bolts of their enfields click and their captain shouted “FIRE
The execution of Padraig Pearse at Kilmainham gaol on 05/03/1916
Osiria Melody Mar 16
I. The Neighbor
Eyes, two immaculate, circular egg-whites
Donning uncanny egg yolks,
Captures a commotion like a camera from afar

II. The Parents
Indecipherable words blurred with alcohol’s embrace
Battered, ****** knuckles striking “I hate you”
against her–helpless
She strikes him back like a match set ablaze
Bird-like screeches pierce the air from the depths of his cruelty

III. The Parents’ Child
Tomato-red ball bounces like a rabbit, gliding across the grainy pavement
Young child, innocent and carefree, bolts toward the ball with thunderous feet
Suddenly, a shock of lightning, blinding like the sun,
Obscures the child's vision (a car)
Ear-splitting burst of impact interrupts the neighborhood
Time took off from the ground, sending the child forward like an airplane, limbs airborne
Not an emergency landing, but an imminent one
Her severed head rolls down the road like a bowling ball
Body splatters across the neighbor's yard, sprinkler watery guts

IV. The Father
His mash potato knuckles, battered, raises into the air as if in protest
A visage ridden with contrition, contorts
Tears stream down his face like missiles (his daughter just died)
An explosion of resentment overcomes him (shock, pure shock)

V. The Mother
She, bloodied by his knuckles
Yelps in determination (she blames her daughter’s death on him)
She slams him with all of her will, ensuring his impending death (he’s a goner for sure)

IV. The Father
Now in supine position, mutters an inaudible “sorry” to his wife with an imploring gaze, asking forgiveness
As she watches him expire, grotesquely smiles (he deserved this)

V. The Mother
Sprinting from the scene, red and blue sirens, whirl and whistle endlessly, audible torture
She loses touch with balance, falling head-first to the selfish ground, forcefully embracing her
Crown splits open like a watermelon, its juicy contents ingratiate
itself onto the neighbor's yard (the grass looks green and red like a watermelon now)

I. The Neighbor
Processing this ghastly ghastly scene, succumbs to Death’s embrace from shock

VI. The Family
A fatal and unforeseen tragedy
Broke the silence in this town of tranquility



Melody
3/16/19
I drew my inspiration from witnessing a happy family taking a stroll in a park.
Jordan Rowan Feb 2016
High Priest Paul stalks them in the night
He promises forgiveness by the edge of his knife
He never stops to question or hesitates to bite
Believe in him and he will make it right  

Scar-Faced Jake doesn't like to wait
He murders Myan time and claws the hands of fate
He bullies his way to the top of the state
He wears a velvet hat and sells you ****** bait

Senator Chris keeps his lovers on a list
A check for every thrill and a line for every kiss
Somewhere, out there, far beyond the bliss
There's kids wondering where their daddy is

Groovy Jungle Jim buries his guitars
Played them like a fiddle in middle country bars
Slept with the lowlifes and wannabe a stars
His voice is the air and his clothes are in the yard

Ali of the Valley sees the starry sky is clear
Reflecting in her eyes like a cosmic mirror
Wondering if the universe looks at us and sneers
While the people on the earth scoff and call her weird

Mr. Priestess Slim puts the bottle on the floor
It's full of whiskey eyes but just a moment more
Someone is rapping on his chamber door
But when he opens it up, he starts a holy war
Excepting me, God only knows the truth which here I tell.
(And if I lie may lightning strike me!  I'll see you all in hell!)
In Scotland Yard there is a shred of damning evidence:
A silken handkerchief clean and white, and certainly a gent's.
And stitched into a single corner a monogram appears,
A well-embroidered S and H.  It's been there all these years.
In Scotland Yard remains the clue that honest Truth supplied;
And Jack the Ripper was Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes's Hyde.
Delia Darling Sep 2018
As I stand here, outside my work building
stealing a smoke break
I wonder about God and the universe
and how much happier it makes me feel
to believe in other things

That the sun was a running man
chasing the stars in that endless black
run man
run fast
run free
but freedom only gets you
slipping and sliding in circular leaps
around our earth, almost like
a clumsy mouse in a stationary wheel
and these sneaky stars
always one step ahead at sunrise
or at his heels in sunset

My mom’s a Catholic woman
she won’t believe in the running man
her stars are not stars, no
her stars are rosaries in purses and
priest’s words
taught words
holy words
but holy words are also
human words, are they not?
It never made sense to me
that a person could live their whole life
repenting it

But then again,
my dad used to have me work in our yard,
picking the weeds outside
and he let me treasure them in a vase
he never called them weeds,
they were always
dandy-flowers
wishing flowers
wildflowers
but wild only gets you
believing in the sun and
keeping shrubs in vases
All of which suit me, because

In the lonely nights of endless black,
I have the company of my own stars
and when holy words of weeds fall back
I remember that—
wild humans are only wildflowers
Just some random thoughts induced by an insignificant smoke break
Miko Jan 2014
I snapped my shoudler
back and apart
my girlfriend's a schizophrenic
and I'm shy to sandcastles
The crank lost it's last *****
a one person axe yard
because he's married to smokes
though the cutest couple
goes to Columbia and Magenta
as Batman's into bandanas
so put one on the handle
though a wrist will be as good as plenty
as the campfire fades away
with gentlemen of sorts
August 2nd, 2013
neha Jun 21
remember when we were carefree
and nothing used to worry me
the neighbourhood was my kingdom
and the front yard was my palace

we used to play pretend
worlds of magic and fantasy
we made up spells and slayed dragons
but now i’m fighting my mind’s demons

ignorance was b l i s s
when did we become like this?
L B Nov 2016
Tired clot of night
in the moon’s slight of hand
in the moon’s slight—
place to hang my hat....

Winter clouds come tumbling toward
the gray
Raked clean by barren trees
Yard waits with its leaves
tucked in corners by the wind
along hedges, stairways
mingling with renegade trash
Stuffed in layers like elderly keepsakes for—

no one cares...

My yard—a neglect of winter woods
but for towels waving stiffly on the line
and the squealing crackle of my footsteps—
Being there

Stairs sigh differently coming home

Blind search for a key hole
I could die searching!
the frustrations of the blind
the fumblings of “locked out!”
I—
know where to go....

Pretend
in my warm lonely
fling—mittens on the table
Survey the ***** dishes...and
close my eyes
There's been nothing but wind and cold for several days here.  Makes me think of January, almost, when walking in snow below 10 degrees F actually does squeal and squeak.  We're getin' there.
remington carter Oct 2016
leaves roll in my parents’ yard
another day watching your
photos from london develop
red leaves and plain drawings
litter your apartment floor

a repeated phrase
pitiful and rich
broken glass
casting rainbows on the porch
a cigarette burn
on the left hand from the right

your love sits uncomfortably in my gut
fucj u writers block ffff
John K Trainer Jun 2014
The fragrance of a memory
From childhood long ago
I’m brought back
To a fenced in back yard
Crayola blue sky
A burnt umber ground
Islands of green and yellow grass
The scent of Summer Hill wafts
As the unseen is revealed
A dream is remembered then forgotten,
And you say it didn't happen
I recollect the aroma that says it did
Whenever I smell the fragrance of Summer Hill from Crabtree & Evelyn, it brings me back to a particular time in my childhood. The same memory on the same day. I was about 5 years old at the time.
Look at all these wannabe gangsters
Terrorising our streets
That one's wearing camouflage trousers
Just wait till you hear him speak
'Dems bear skills mate'
'Can you lend me fifty bar?'
He sounds like he's from Los Angeles
Doing time in the yard
But he's not
He still lives at home with his mum
And his pregnant girlfriend
And he's under the thumb
You see them outside Tesco
But they're not shopping for pesto
Let's go
They've seen the old bill
He's known around this town
For selling dodgy pills
Guns, knives and slang
That's what you need
If you wanna be in their gang
No education
Just a stolen Playstation
And don't forget the ****
Even on a school night
They're out doing speed
You'll see 'em in the park
With a bottle of cider
Then they'll start
On a poor old-timer
Tracky bottoms
And a Burberry hat
Chav fashion
Cause they think they're all that
But the funny thing is
They don't have a clue
They don't think like
Me or you
They think that they're rap stars
Dreaming of fast cars
But they're just wankers
More like 'wannabe gangsters'
Alyssa Underwood Mar 2016
I

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
  For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
  When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
  And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
  In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and ***;
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
  With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain,
  Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
  A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
  “That fellows got to swing.”

Dear Christ! the very prison walls
  Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
  Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
  My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what hunted thought
  Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
  With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
  And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
  By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

Some **** their love when they are young,
  And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
  Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
  The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
  Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
  And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
  Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
  On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
  Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
  Into an empty place

He does not sit with silent men
  Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
  And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
  The prison of its prey.

He does not wake at dawn to see
  Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
  The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
  With the yellow face of Doom.

He does not rise in piteous haste
  To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
  Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
******* a watch whose little ticks
  Are like horrible hammer-blows.

He does not know that sickening thirst
  That sands one’s throat, before
The hangman with his gardener’s gloves
  Slips through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
  That the throat may thirst no more.

He does not bend his head to hear
  The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the terror of his soul
  Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
  Into the hideous shed.

He does not stare upon the air
  Through a little roof of glass;
He does not pray with lips of clay
  For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
  The kiss of Caiaphas.


II

Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
  In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and ***,
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
  Its raveled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
  Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
  In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
  And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
  Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
  Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
  As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
  Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
  A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
  The man who had to swing.

And strange it was to see him pass
  With a step so light and ***,
And strange it was to see him look
  So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
  Had such a debt to pay.

For oak and elm have pleasant leaves
  That in the spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
  With its adder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
  Before it bears its fruit!

The loftiest place is that seat of grace
  For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
  Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer’s collar take
  His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
  When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
  Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
  To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
  We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
  Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
  His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
  Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
  In the black dock’s dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
  In God’s sweet world again.

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
  We had crossed each other’s way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
  We had no word to say;
For we did not meet in the holy night,
  But in the shameful day.

A prison wall was round us both,
  Two outcast men were we:
The world had ****** us from its heart,
  And God from out His care:
And the iron gin that waits for Sin
  Had caught us in its snare.


III

In Debtors’ Yard the stones are hard,
  And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
  Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a Warder walked,
  For fear the man might die.

Or else he sat with those who watched
  His anguish night and day;
Who watched him when he rose to weep,
  And when he crouched to pray;
Who watched him lest himself should rob
  Their scaffold of its prey.

The Governor was strong upon
  The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
  A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called
  And left a little tract.

And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
  And drank his quart of beer:
His soul was resolute, and held
  No hiding-place for fear;
He often said that he was glad
  The hangman’s hands were near.

But why he said so strange a thing
  No Warder dared to ask:
For he to whom a watcher’s doom
  Is given as his task,
Must set a lock upon his lips,
  And make his face a mask.

Or else he might be moved, and try
  To comfort or console:
And what should Human Pity do
  Pent up in Murderers’ Hole?
What word of grace in such a place
  Could help a brother’s soul?

With slouch and swing around the ring
  We trod the Fool’s Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
  The Devil’s Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
  Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
  With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
  And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
  And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
  We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
  And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
  Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
  Crawled like a ****-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
  That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
  We passed an open grave.

With yawning mouth the yellow hole
  Gaped for a living thing;
The very mud cried out for blood
  To the thirsty asphalte ring:
And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
  Some prisoner had to swing.

Right in we went, with soul intent
  On Death and Dread and Doom:
The hangman, with his little bag,
  Went shuffling through the gloom
And each man trembled as he crept
  Into his numbered tomb.

That night the empty corridors
  Were full of forms of Fear,
And up and down the iron town
  Stole feet we could not hear,
And through the bars that hide the stars
  White faces seemed to peer.

He lay as one who lies and dreams
  In a pleasant meadow-land,
The watcher watched him as he slept,
  And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
  With a hangman close at hand?

But there is no sleep when men must weep
  Who never yet have wept:
So we—the fool, the fraud, the knave—
  That endless vigil kept,
And through each brain on hands of pain
  Another’s terror crept.

Alas! it is a fearful thing
  To feel another’s guilt!
For, right within, the sword of Sin
  Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
And as molten lead were the tears we shed
  For the blood we had not spilt.

The Warders with their shoes of felt
  Crept by each padlocked door,
And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
  Grey figures on the floor,
And wondered why men knelt to pray
  Who never prayed before.

All through the night we knelt and prayed,
  Mad mourners of a corpse!
The troubled plumes of midnight were
  The plumes upon a hearse:
And bitter wine upon a sponge
  Was the savior of Remorse.

The **** crew, the red **** crew,
  But never came the day:
And crooked shape of Terror crouched,
  In the corners where we lay:
And each evil sprite that walks by night
  Before us seemed to play.

They glided past, they glided fast,
  Like travelers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
  Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
  The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
  Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
  They trod a saraband:
And the ****** grotesques made arabesques,
  Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
  They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
  As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and long they sang,
  For they sang to wake the dead.

“Oho!” they cried, “The world is wide,
  But fettered limbs go lame!
And once, or twice, to throw the dice
  Is a gentlemanly game,
But he does not win who plays with Sin
  In the secret House of Shame.”

No things of air these antics were
  That frolicked with such glee:
To men whose lives were held in gyves,
  And whose feet might not go free,
Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
  Most terrible to see.

Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
  Some wheeled in smirking pairs:
With the mincing step of demirep
  Some sidled up the stairs:
And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
  Each helped us at our prayers.

The morning wind began to moan,
  But still the night went on:
Through its giant loom the web of gloom
  Crept till each thread was spun:
And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
  Of the Justice of the Sun.

The moaning wind went wandering round
  The weeping prison-wall:
Till like a wheel of turning-steel
  We felt the minutes crawl:
O moaning wind! what had we done
  To have such a seneschal?

At last I saw the shadowed bars
  Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
  That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
  God’s dreadful dawn was red.

At six o’clock we cleaned our cells,
  At seven all was still,
But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
  The prison seemed to fill,
For the Lord of Death with icy breath
  Had entered in to ****.

He did not pass in purple pomp,
  Nor ride a moon-white steed.
Three yards of cord and a sliding board
  Are all the gallows’ need:
So with rope of shame the Herald came
  To do the secret deed.

We were as men who through a fen
  Of filthy darkness *****:
We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
  Or give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
  And what was dead was Hope.

For Man’s grim Justice goes its way,
  And will not swerve aside:
It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
  It has a deadly stride:
With iron heel it slays the strong,
  The monstrous parricide!

We waited for the stroke of eight:
  Each tongue was thick with thirst:
For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
  That makes a man accursed,
And Fate will use a running noose
  For the best man and the worst.

We had no other thing to do,
  Save to wait for the sign to come:
So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
  Quiet we sat and dumb:
But each man’s heart beat thick and quick
  Like a madman on a drum!

With sudden shock the prison-clock
  Smote on the shivering air,
And from all the gaol rose up a wail
  Of impotent despair,
Like the sound that frightened marshes hear
  From a ***** in his lair.

And as one sees most fearful things
  In the crystal of a dream,
We saw the greasy hempen rope
  Hooked to the blackened beam,
And heard the prayer the hangman’s snare
  Strangled into a scream.

And all the woe that moved him so
  That he gave that bitter cry,
And the wild regrets, and the ****** sweats,
  None knew so well as I:
For he who lives more lives than one
  More deaths than one must die.


IV

There is no chapel on the day
  On which they hang a man:
The Chaplain’s heart is far too sick,
  Or his face is far too wan,
Or there is that written in his eyes
  Which none should look upon.

So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
  And then they rang the bell,
And the Warders with their jingling keys
  Opened each listening cell,
And down the iron stair we tramped,
  Each from his separate Hell.

Out into God’s sweet air we went,
  But not in wonted way,
For this man’s face was white with fear,
  And that man’s face was grey,
And I never saw sad men who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw sad men who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  We prisoners called the sky,
And at every careless cloud that passed
  In happy freedom by.

But there were those amongst us all
  Who walked with downcast head,
And knew that, had each got his due,
  They should have died instead:
He had but killed a thing that lived
  Whilst they had killed the dead.

For he who sins a second time
  Wakes a dead soul to pain,
And draws it from its spotted shroud,
  And makes it bleed again,
And makes it bleed great gouts of blood
  And makes it bleed in vain!

Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
  With crooked arrows starred,
Silently we went round and round
  The slippery asphalte yard;
Silently we went round and round,
  And no man spoke a word.

Silently we went round and round,
  And through each hollow mind
The memory of dreadful things
  Rushed like a dreadful wind,
And Horror stalked before each man,
  And terror crept behind.

The Warders strutted up and down,
  And kept their herd of brutes,
Their uniforms were ***** and span,
  And they wore their Sunday suits,
But we knew the work they had been at
  By the quicklime on their boots.

For where a grave had opened wide,
  There was no grave at all:
Only a stretch of mud and sand
  By the hideous prison-wall,
And a little heap of burning lime,
  That the man should have his pall.

For he has a pall, this wretched man,
  Such as few men can claim:
Deep down below a prison-yard,
  Naked for greater shame,
He lies, with fetters on each foot,
  Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

And all the while the burning lime
  Eats flesh and bone away,
It eats the brittle bone by night,
  And the soft flesh by the day,
It eats the flesh and bones by turns,
  But it eats the heart alway.

For three long years they will not sow
  Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
  Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
  With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer’s heart would taint
  Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God’s kindly earth
  Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
  The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
  Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
  Christ brings his will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
  Bloomed in the great Pope’s sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
  May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
  Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
  A common man’s despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
  Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
  By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who ***** the yard
  That God’s Son died for all.

Yet though the hideous prison-wall
  Still hems him round and round,
And a spirit man not walk by night
  That is with fetters bound,
And a spirit may not weep that lies
  In such unholy ground,

He is at peace—this wretched man—
  At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to make him mad,
  Nor does Terror walk at noon,
For the lampless Earth in which he lies
  Has neither Sun nor Moon.

They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
  They did not even toll
A reguiem that might have brought
  Rest to his startled soul,
But hurriedly they took him out,
  And hid him in a hole.

They stripped him of his canvas clothes,
  And gave him to the flies;
They mocked the swollen purple throat
  And the stark and staring eyes:
And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
  In which their convict lies.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
  By his dishonored grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
  That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
  Whom Christ came down to save.

Yet all is well; he has but passed
  To Life’s appointed bourne:
And alien tears will fill for him
  Pity’s long-broken urn,
For his mourner will be outcast men,
  And outcasts always mourn.


V

I know not whether Laws be right,
  Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in gaol
  Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
  A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
  That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took his brother’s life,
  And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
  With a most evil fan.

This too I know—and wise it were
  If each could know the same—
That every prison that men build
  Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
  How men their brothers maim.

With bars they blur the gracious moon,
  And blind the goodly sun:
And they do well to hide their Hell,
  For in it things are done
That Son of God nor son of Man
  Ever should look upon!

The vilest deeds like poison weeds
  Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
  That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
  And the Warder is Despair

For they starve the little frightened child
  Till it weeps both night and day:
And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
  And gibe the old and grey,
And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
And none a word may say.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
  Is foul and dark latrine,
And the fetid breath of living Death
  Chokes up each grated screen,
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
  In Humanity’s machine.

The brackish water that we drink
  Creeps with a loathsome slime,
And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
  Is full of chalk and lime,
And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
  Wild-eyed and cries to Time.

But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
  Like asp with adder fight,
We have little care of prison fare,
  For what chills and kills outright
Is that every stone one lifts by day
  Becomes one’s heart by night.

With midnight always in one’s heart,
  And twilight in one’s cell,
We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
  Each in his separate Hell,
And the silence is more awful far
  Than the sound of a brazen bell.

And never a human voice comes near
  To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
  Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
  With soul and body marred.

And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
  Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
  And some men make no moan:
But God’s eternal Laws are kind
  And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
  In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
  Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean *****’s house
  With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
  And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
  And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
  May Lord Christ enter in?

And he of the swollen purple throat.
  And the stark and staring eyes,
Waits for the holy hands that took
  The Thief to Paradise;
And a broken and a contrite heart
  The Lord will not despise.

The man in red who reads the Law
  Gave him three weeks of life,
Three little weeks in which to heal
  His soul of his soul’s strife,
And cleanse from every blot of blood
  The hand that held the knife.

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
  The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
  And only tears can heal:
And the crimson stain that was of Cain
  Became Christ’s snow-white seal.


VI

In Reading gaol by Reading town
  There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
  Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
  And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
  In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
  Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
  And so he had to die.

And all men **** the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!
Ryan O'Leary May 7
When Enrico’s Olde Horse
Was Too Old to work, he was
turned out by his master.

It is a quote from a book when
we were at primary school and
perhaps what first signalled that
I was a Socialist, humanist,
naturalist, poet, herbivore as
observed and stated at one of
my book launches, by James Kennedy
the Ex Mayor of Mallow and current
contestant as a councillor.

I would love to know from whence
the quote came from, especially
now that I am in the same position
as Enrico’s Horse, the metaphor for
Enrico being The Fine Gael Government.

It is a very important lesson that has
taken me a lifetime to learn.

Ps


Proposed book title about the abuse
of the elderly " The Knackers Yard ".

The author is currently learning
how to **** whilst walking.
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